Canada, U.S. To Extend Border Closure Amid COVID-19 Pandemic: Report

OTTAWA  Canada and the United States are set to extend a ban on non-essential travel that was imposed to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, although a final decision has not been taken, two Ottawa sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The ban, introduced in March, has been extended several times and is due to expire on July 21. The measure does not include trade.

Infections have risen rapidly in about 40 of the 50 U.S. states over the last two weeks, according to a Reuters analysis, and provincial premiers say the frontier needs to remain shut.

Although some U.S. politicians in northern states are pressing for the measures to be relaxed, the Ottawa sources said the extension was virtually inevitable given the seriousness of the crisis in the U.S.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier told reporters talks between the two nations on the ban were continuing and said, “We will have more to say later this week, I’m sure.”

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Monday the situation in Florida was “staggering” and “scary.”

The chief medical officer of British Columbia said last week there was no chance of non-essential travel with the United States this summer, given how widespread the virus was south of the border.

Trudeau said on July 8 that Canada had handled the outbreak better than the United States, in a rare public comment on the faltering U.S. effort.

The U.S. — which has a population almost nine times larger than Canada’s — has recorded more than 135,000 deaths compared to 8,783 in Canada.

Trudeau also said he had talked to U.S. President Donald Trump earlier on Monday and reiterated his opposition to the possible imposition of tariffs on Canadian aluminum exports.

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